If you asked me which restaurant In San Miguel I think is the most attractive, I’d find it difficult, perhaps impossible, to answer. But if you broadened the geography to Guanajuato, the answer would be easy. My choice would be Mestizo.
There is nothing hanging on this restaurant’s walls that I wouldn’t have on my walls. I get more pleasure walking through the three small rooms at Mestizo than I do the hallowed halls of some renowned galleries. And it’s not just oils and acrylics. Some of the finest Mexican ceramics I’ve ever seen decorate the walls of Mestizo.
Art alone though does not make a restaurant attractive. The rest of the decor and decorations also play a large part in creating the classy but comfortable atmosphere of Mestizo. Wood is painted in glossy in-your-face colors that leap out from the matte white walls.
On the flower-topped tables, deeply colored linen scarves and serviettes contrast against the stark white tablecloths.
And through the open windows, you can see the colorful casas that weave tapestries across the Guanajuato hills.
The combination of art gallery and restaurant is not an easy thing to pull off. Because if checking out the art requires you to risk dipping your tie in someone’s salsa, neither party’s going to be pleased. But at Mestizo, they’re careful to put large works that can be viewed from afar and smaller pieces that require intimate examination in all the right places.
So do I go to Mestizo because it looks good? No, of course not. I go there first and foremost for the food. The delightful decor is the extra added attraction.
Mestizo is a place I feel proud to introduce to people. And the last time it was my daughter and two of my granddaughters. All three are what you might call “artsy”. And all three were enthralled by Mestizo.
We started with a couple of orders of the tapas mixtas. I asked the women to play the game of favorites and failures with me.
They were a bit hum haw about the goat cheese and strawberry toast but even that got a thumbs up. The burrata and perfectly ripe tomato got a fave from granddaughter Rayne after her first, eyes wide shut, mouthful.
I’m not sure if the roasted corn was a rave from Granddaughter Frances because of its taste or because it was her chance to do a Tom Hanks impression.
The tuna ceviche with tomato and onion received a yes from daughter Chantelle. And I put in a vote for the Serrano ham. But the fave rave went to an unusual combination of flavors.
“I’ve got to give my first place vote to the blue cheese and pineapple”, said Rayne. “They’re such a great combo.”
Chef Javier Cruz Hernandez is an artist not only in putting flavors on a plate but also in the the presentation of those flavors on the plate. The visual appeal of many of the dishes would be worthy of Mestizo’s walls.
Included in Mestizo’s displays of ceramics are the plates that Chef Hernandez has been awarded at the International Summit of Gastronomy. Presentation was an obvious contribution to him winning the prizes at the festival that’s held each summer.
My filet of beef with caramelized onions and goat cheese on a bed of roast potatoes was sided with slashes and dots in pink and green that were definitely ready for their close-up.
Alternate colors decorated Chantelle’s chicken mole.
A bougainvillea bract was the crowning touch to Frances’ fresh pasta with shrimp and fresh herbs.
Rayne’s tortilla soup provided her with a canvas to do a little of her own decorating.
The delightful interior design and delicious flavors were just two of the good reasons I chose Mestizo. I was the one picking up the check that day. I’m sure you could name a place or two that comes close to Mestizo in good looks. But I doubt you’d find them at this kind of price.
“The art is extraordinary,” said Chantelle. “Everything about this restaurant is so interesting. I love this place.”
Mestizo is located at Pocitos 69 in Guanajuato, Mexico. They are open from 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm every day but Monday.